Maura Moynihan


At age fifteen, Maura Moynihan moved to New Delhi, India, where her father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was appointed the US Ambassador. She graduated in 1975 from the American International School, New Delhi, known as "Hindi High." By age 19 she learned to speak Hindi and Urdu and had traveled to Kashmir, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China and Japan. At twenty-three, a Harvard graduate and rock musician, Moynihan appeared on the cover of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine with her first band, "Maura and the Mystics." For five years Moynihan and Warhol worked together at Interview and co-hosted "Andy Warhol’s TV."
In her thirties, Moynihan returned to India and Nepal as a well-known Tibetan refugee and human rights advocate. She testified before the Senate Foreign Relations committee and was widely published, in the Washington Post and elsewhere. She launched a multi-lingual radio show in Kathmandu, Nepal, and became the Radio Free Asia Kathmandu Bureau Chief. Now in her forties, with a clothing line in Saks, a short story collection and CD being released this summer (both named YOGA HOTEL), Moynihan is the ultimate renaissance woman, whose creativity and experience integrates East and West, politics and pop music, Bollywood and Manhattan.
__ In her new collection of stories, YOGA HOTEL (ReganBooks; on-sale August 12th, 2003), Moynihan explores the relationship between Eastern and Western cultures in India. "Everyone knows about the India of the Raj, maharajas, tiger-hunting, and it’s inspired fantastic reading, but I wanted to write about the India I know, ex-pats, seekers, gurus, discos, third class trains, Delhi cocktail parties with diplomats and World Bankers, a place where worlds and people collide, with unpredictable and complex results." When she was living in India, Moynihan became an ardent practitioner of Yoga and studied Kundalini, Iyengar and Shivananda techniques. The title of the book and the CD refers to the nickname her friends gave her home in Kathmandu, a spontaneous Yoga ashram and popular international guest house, always open to guests from around the world.

Contact Information

Jennifer Suitor
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212/207-7066 >>

Order the Yoga Hotel CD

Please send check or money order in the amount of $12 ($10 plus $2 shipping) for each CD to:

Major Songs, Ltd.
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StoriesBy Maura Moynihan

"East meets West in Moynihan’s wry, knowing debut collection, so evocative of modern-day India that readers can smell the temple incense."

— Publishers Weekly

"YOGA HOTEL is a charming and delightful book. It offers great insight into the world of India."

— Ismail Merchant

"YOGA HOTEL is made up of beautifully written stories about the encounters between Westerners and Indians, encounters that are by turns comic and heartbreaking. Moynihan has a wonderful ear for the spoken English of India."

— Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc.

In her impressive fiction debut, YOGA HOTEL (ReganBooks; on-sale August 12, 2003; $13.95), Maura Moynihan deftly probes the often precarious interplay between ordinary Indians and the wealthy Westerners who swarm to the subcontinent with political agendas or in quest of spiritual enlightenment. With subtle, yet rapier wit and keen insights into everyday life in India, Moynihan captures this peculiarly contemporary form of culture clash as she weaves stories that resonate with timeless, universal truths about human aspirations and desires.
__ The American-born Moynihan first went to India as a teenager, when her father served there as U.S. Ambassador. She now divides her time between New York City, New Delhi, and Kathmandu, Nepal, where she worked for many years as a refugee researcher and advocate. While the stories in this collection are informed by the political issues that percolate throughout the region, they are not overtly political in their telling. Moynihan's narratives are fundamentally human stories, grounded in the everyday, and laced with the details that both bring people together and set them apart.
__ Though a Westerner herself, Moynihan manages to penetrate the psyche of her Indian characters. In "A Good Job in Delhi," Hari comes from a provincial town to take a job as a servant for an Englishman who works for the World Bank. Hari is both dazzled and perplexed by his boss's lifestyle, and when he dares to partake in unaccustomed freedom himself, he finds himself torn between the two worlds. Another Indian, the social-climbing Mrs. Mehta, is flummoxed when her neighbor manages to snag a beautiful American boarder in "Paying Guest." In "The Visa," misunderstandings abound as a group of upwardly mobile Indians vie for the attention of an American consulate worker who has the power to issue them the coveted permission to visit the United States.
__ The two darkest stories focus on Americans and their misguided encounters with the Indian populace. "In the Heart of Braj" echoes Forster's A Passage to India, as a young American woman succumbs to the more ecstatic aspects of Indian religion. A callow U.N. functionary faces his own cowardice as politically reality clashes with idealism in "High Commissioner for Refugees."
The centerpiece of the collection is "Masterji," a novella-length story about a group of Western spiritual pilgrims who descend with a thud upon a small Himalayan town. As the dying guru contemplates who will become his successor, the self-centered disciples--including a globe-trotting heiress who "collects gurus like furniture," a macho American movie star, and a well-intentioned, if clueless rich girl--interact with the locals. Their deep ignorance of the harsh realities of Indian life leads to a tangle of events that wreaks havoc in the guest house where they stay.
__ When YOGA HOTEL was published in India, The Times of India said "the stories overflow with humor and candor," while the weekly newsmagazine Outlook said that Maura Moynihan's writing "is shot through with a welcome wry humor.... [and] considerable grace." Moynihan's clear-sighted, entertaining literary debut lends a finely-tuned new voice to the chorus of top-flight authors writing about India today.

About the Author:

Maura Moynihan, a designer, musician, and writer, has lived intermittently in India since her father was the US ambassador there. Her screenplays have been bought by Merchant Ivory, and her clothing line "SoSari" is now being sold through Saks Fifth Avenue. A recent signatory with BMI as a singer-songwriter, Moynihan divides her time between New York City, New Delhi, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal.

About the Music:

The publication of "YOGA HOTEL," the Book, is accompanied by the release of the musical CD, "YOGA HOTEL," (MajorSongs) written by Ms. Moynihan. These songs are also inspired by the author’s journeys across the Indian subcontinent. In songs that explore the themes of "East Meets West," Ms. Moynihan sings in English, Hindustani and Tibetan, and blends guitar and sitar, Indian and western flute and percussion, in songs that explore the themes of "East Meets West." The music videos from "YOGA HOTEL" can be seen on Asian television, and won the 2001 All Nepal Video Contest.

About the Book:

YOGA HOTEL: Stories By Maura Moynihan
On-sale August 12, 2003
ISBN 0060559322
Trade Paperback Original, $13.95

For further information or to arrange an interview,
please contact Jennifer Suitor at: